100-year-old cemetery's fate hangs in the balance

Struggling to survive: A report by Bangarpet Tahsildar claims the 100-year-old cemetery in the Kolar Gold Fields is  non-existent and illegally used­. DH photoThe residents of the City might have been using the cemetery for generations. But, a new report, submitted by the Tahsildar of Bangarpet, has put a question mark on its very existence.

The cemetery at Gandhinagar in the Maskam Layout has a history of more than a 100 years. While the British utilised the gold mines, the hundreds of citizens residing in the region used the cemetery to lay their dead relatives. The graveyard has tombs and stone tablets dating back to 1940.

The residents of Gauthamnagar, Maskam, Swarnakuppam and Robertsonpet still use the graveyard, belonging to Survey No 67 and spreading across 12.28 acres.

New argument

The Revenue Department, however, now claims that the land is not a cemetery at all. The special Tahsildar of Kolar Gold Fields has even declared that the graveyard is illegal and unauthorised.

In addition, the Revenue Department has said the plot has not been transferred to the administration of the City Municipal Council (CMC), creating an altercation between the two parties.

The City Municipal Council spent Rs eight lakh under the CRF project last year, to develop the cemetery. The CMC had built a compound wall surrounding the graveyard, in order to prevent encroachment of the land.

The Council is therefore unhappy that the Revenue Department has raised doubts over the existence of a plot of land belonging to it. Making matters worse, there were also questions on why the CMC had bothered to spend lakhs of rupees to develop a plot that it did not own at all.

Intervention

In the recent times, however, the Revenue Department is found to create unnecessary confusion by interfering in the work of the CMC.

One of the best examples would be the case of encroachment of the playground of the Government Primary School in the heart of Robertsonpet. The encroachers had constructed a wall around a part of the playground overnight, with permission from the Revenue Department. The district administration had later succeeded in bringing down the stone wall. Senior officers of the Revenue Department had confessed that the Department had retained records even after the land had been handed over to the CMC.

Now, the Revenue Department is trying to run its writ over land owned by the CMC, creating further problem. A tussle between the Department and the CMC too seems underway.

As usual, however, sandwiched between two fighting departments are the citizens, who are wondering about the outcome, whether they would get to use the cemetery any more. Worrying the most are the relatives of the hundreds of deceased, whose tombs are in the graveyard.

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